Golf: Karlsson seizes lead at Hong Kong Open

Sweden's Robert Karlsson opened up a commanding four shot lead at the halfway stage of the UBS Hong Kong Open on Friday, playing perfect golf to match his first round of 64.

Karlsson has yet to bogey a hole, and six more birdies took him to the top of the leaderboard at 12 under par, with Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez leading the chasing pack after shooting 67 in the second round to go eight under.

The 38-year-old Swede only used his driver once in the second round but his

conservative approach was rewarded.

“It’s all been pretty good,” he said. It’s great to be in this situation because it’s a course where if you try to overpower it you’re going to have real problems.”

Karlsson has played poorly on two previous visits to the Hong Kong Open but his form in the past two days here has left him determined to keep up the momentum.

“I’m just going to try and keep doing what I’m doing and not focus on scoring too much,” he added.

Jimenez’s morning start allowed him to set the early clubhouse target, but Karlsson built on his first round 64 with birdies at the 2nd, 7th, 8th, 10th, 16th and 18th holes to seize control of the 2.25 million dollar tournament.

Canada’s Mike Weir equalled Karlsson’s 64 to move into a share of third place on seven under. The 2003 US Masters champion’s seven birdies and a bogey made him one of the day’s big movers on the leaderboard.

He was joined by South Africa’s Trevor Immelman who blitzed the back nine with five birdies including three on the run from the 14th.

Immelman’s 62 was the low round of the day and he is placed at seven under alongside a clutch of players, including Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, Swedes Jarmo Sandelin and Martin Erlandsson, and Scotland’s Barry Hume.

China’s top player and Asian Tour money leader Liang Wen-chong played himself into contention with a 66 taking him to six under par at the halfway mark.

The event is being played over the par 70 course at Hong Kong Golf Club.